Finland’s national artist, Akseli Gallén-Kallela, had a workshop named Kalela out in the wilderness. It is one of Finland’s largest log buildings from the 19th century and its original framework is still standing.
The workshop is located in the shade of a pine forest in Ruhla, Ruovesi, on the shore of Lake Ruovesi. The building covers an area of 18 x 16 metres and the roof of the house rises to a height of 13 metres. The workshop was built from solid deadwood, which is more durable than fresh wood but more difficult to work with.
Kalela is more than just a monument to Gallén’s architectonic genius: it is also testament to the skill of the 13 country carpenters who built it in a year by chopping, sawing and improvising.
Kalela was designed to be the artist’s studio and a home for his family. The building represents the fulfilment of Gallén-Kallela’s youthful architectonic fantasies and it was built in accordance with the artist’s own detailed drawings in 1894 and 1895. Kalela contains inspiration from the Finnish national epic, Kalevala, in the form of images, carvings, etchings, stained glass and Finland’s first design products.
Kalela is not currently open to the public.
Ruovesi tourist information 1 June–21 August, open daily 11am–6pm. Tel: +358 44 787 1388. Email: matkailu(at)ruovesi.fi (service in Finnish and English).